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Wednesday 25.04.2018 | Name days: Līksma, Bārbala
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12th Saeima failed to complete half of its pre-election promises in field of justice

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUIn 2014, Delna – society for openness and Providus think tank received support from all parties represented in the 12th Saeima in regards to an action plan to help strengthen the rule of law in the country.

A total of 45 goals were included in that plan. The two organizations have found out that only half of those goals have been completed either fully or only partially: 7 have been completed fully and 16 – partially. The progress so far has been the slowest with with protection of whistle-blowers and adoption of ethics principles in state administration – not a single promise has been completed in either of those two fields.

12th Saeima has done the most in sorting out state personnel policy, improving the procurement system, preventing problems in management of state and municipal associations, and ensuring better decision-making practices and stronger judicial power. For example:

-an open data portal has been created in Latvia. 44 databases were added to it in 2017.

-amendments were added to the Law on Financing of Political Parties, limiting the permitted donations size to 30% of the person’s annual declared income;

-foundations were formed for the creation of an internal control system for corruption and conflict of interest prevention;

-an e-service for signing voters’ initiatives was also adopted, making it easier to collect signatures for different initiatives;

-regulations were introduced to provide state-funded legal assistance in administrative cases;

-insolvency administrators were provided with status of state officials.

The 12th Saeima has made decisions in regards to multiple initiatives detailed in the plan, but has yet to support them. For example, on 30 April 2015 the Saeima rejected amendment proposals for the Law on Funding of Political Organizations that provided for doubling state funding for parties. This initiative was proposed by then the President of Latvia Andris Bērziņš. It was rejected because, according to the Saeima, it would be unfair to parties that are not elected to the Saeima. Another justification mentioned in defence of rejecting it was that it would be «amoral, because there are many other sectors that would benefit from state budget funds,» [Cilvēvičs, Harmony].

In February 2015, the Saeima rejected a proposal submitted by five deputies regarding organization of open presidential elections in Latvia. In March 2017 the Saeima received the whistle-blowers protection legislative draft. Unfortunately, this proposal did not even make it to the first reading.

To further improve realization of the action plan, Delna and Providus invite 12th Saeima to spend the rest of its term supporting the following initiatives:

-strengthening transparency of decision-making processes by voting in favour of the collective application submitted by 11,212 Latvian citizens On open voting during presidential elections. This initiative is currently being reviewed by Saeima’s Legal Affairs Committee;

-making it a duty to disclose lobbyists (organizations and individuals) behind new legislative drafts or political documents;

-improving and adopting the legislative draft for protection of whistle-blowers;

-delegating the duty to ensure information transparency to some state institution. Such an institution would allow residents and officials to appeal unjustified rejections of information provision requests;

-deciding on increasing state budget funding for political parties.

In September, Delna and Providus plan to once again evaluate the parliament’s decisions and report to voters as to which parties succeeded and which failed fulfilling their promises in strengthening the rule of law.


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